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Child Widow....

My husband died in his sleep but my in laws said I killed him. How could I have killed my husband? After all, my uncle had married me off to such an old man because he could not repay the debt he owed. I had only set eyes on him a few days to the wedding and only known when my aunt had pointed him out, “That is your husband.”

On the wedding day, I had wept. I didn’t understand what was happening as I had only just had my first period and my aunt had not educated me on the intricacies of womanhood, I was but a child. Before I was escorted to his hut , my aunt and the other women had said to me , “Do as your husband says and be a good daughter to your mother in law.” Left alone in his hut, it finally dawned on me that my new role and duty as a wife had begun.

Old enough to be my grandfather, he was kind and treated me well , I took good care of him. Pregnancy came with agony and my young body struggled. I was a child carrying another child and it didn’t help that the women advised me to be strong. It seemed like forever and somehow I miscarried and bled and bled. I wasn’t angry at him for making me pregnant , instead I felt I had failed him as a wife. So how could I have killed this kind old man? Didn’t his family know that at his age he was prone to having a heart attack? I had never been bold enough to ask him why he had not married earlier in his life. I was just a wife.

Five years after the miscarriage and I had still not conceived, his family said I was witch and a man. That it was part of the reason I had killed their son and brother. Come to think of it, a hut and a piece of land was too small a reason for me to take a life.

They had shaved my beautiful hair with a new blade as a sign of respect for the dead. His corpse had also been washed and the water given to me to drink to prove my innocence. After which they isolated me in a hut far from the others, where I sat shivering at night from the fear of the thought that my male in laws might prey on my young body to satisfy their lust as had happened to some other young widows. Every night before I went back to that hut, I had to do the forbidden which was to carry firewood from my hut to the forest instead of the other way round..

What more did they want from me? Hadn’t I wailed louder than other women and attempted to jump into the grave to show how bereaved I was ,as was expected? Hadn’t I endured the humiliation of having a herbalist throw his cowries on the sand and leave without a word to prove my innocence?

My body itched from days without bathing and my mourning clothes stank, I was hungry too. Tomorrow I would be inherited by my husband’s brother, who already had two older wives. They would mock my barrenness and my new husband might beat me because of their lies.

Carefully I slipped out of the hut and stealing my dead husband’s bicycle, I begin to ride fast into the night, towards the light in my head. Leaving the past behind. I was free…

Comments

jadefrank's picture

Empowerment

Ooluus,

Again, your vivid writing has transported me to your world. The ending of this story is so hopeful. Such an inspiring and bold move to leave a hopeless situation and strike off alone into the unknown.

I am hooked on your writing!

Warm regards,
Jade

OOLUSS's picture

Yes!

Once again,

Thank you. I beleive theres always a bright light at the end of every tunnel...

many thanks,

Ooluss

gillianpar's picture

Fabulous

Yuor writing is inspiring...

OOLUSS's picture

Thank you.

Thank you..Theres always a silver lining behind every dark cloud.

jap21's picture

I wonder if someone online is

I wonder if someone online is able to buy your story to print it out. It deserves to be read by the world. And your writing is so vivid that it deserves to get not only attention, but a good compensation too. Thank you for sharing this very private part of your life with us. All my love to you.

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

OOLUSS's picture

If only

Hello Jap 21,

If could get a willing publisher, I really wouldnt mind developing this story into a novella. I'm glad you were able to feel and have an image of what some women in my society suffer...

This story is well told. However, since told from the perspective of a Child, readers gain stark and valuable truths, but at the incalculable expense of adult analysis.

I wonder therefore, if couching grim reality in child-speak, however riveting it might be, is really how Women-Victims of nationally or ideologically institutionalised abuse, should optimally tell their stories? For while the expected harvest of Pathos gets thoroughly and duly reaped, I somehow consider that the more vitally-necessary element of Activistic Mobilisation, stands in grave danger of behing left unheeded underfoot upon the emotional threshing floor.

To make my point clearer by practical example: at the point of this writing, there are Six (6) comments before mine...and while all of them - commendably - congratulate the writer on her creative skill and literary technique, none of them appear to be concerned with interrogating the varying levels of the Abuse forming the plot of the story: i.e., the parental, societal, legal neglect and abuse, despite being so painstakingly illuminated by the writer. Is it that Women have been living so long with such Abuse - sans any REAL social, ideological or legal amelioration, that they have psychically given-up on "healing the Sin," choosing instead to expend their energies upon "healling the Sinned-Against?"

In such a case: what - exactly therefore, is the practical rationale for Writing about Global Abuse? Should - optimally, the majority of responses received (sincere and well meaning though they no doubt are), seek to cocoon the Victim in outpourings of loving approbation...while leaving the Abuse un-remarked?

I quite understand that Women think with their Hearts; and while this is an aspect of our nature which I value as evidence of our un-matched propensity, as a gender, for unswervingly answering the Call of Humanity, I nevertheless would wish to see feminine emotionalism more hardily enhanced by a good dose of Survivalist Pragmatism. Honestly! It is not a "bad" trait to possess; no matter how much Men have undermined its human-value through their own warped self-privileging style of deployment.

OOLUSS's picture

thanks!

I hear u loud and clear !

Fatima Waziri's picture

Abuse indeed!

Ooluss, what part of Nigeria are you from?

Peace!
Fatima

OOLUSS's picture

hI Fatwaz

Hi Fatwaz,

I am from the South . I actually only just put together the experiences of widows from different parts of the country.

chimango's picture

your story

it was my first time to read your writing it is great and brings very interesting and yet real issues you are a an excellent writer, keep up the good work

OOLUSS's picture

Thanks!

Hello there,

Thank You very much.

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